Thursday, February 27, 2014

Super low quality, but super cute

Blurry, messy, and half-naked, but somehow still cute. Alternative caption: apparently they can play happily together for more than 15 seconds.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


"Keep on keeping on."

Most appropriate fortune cookie I've ever opened.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A tasty treat

For  FHE (Family Home Evening) tonight, we learned about the brother of Jared with a flannel board story. Rafe insisted on putting the pieces where he wanted them, and Lydia had some great suggestions for what Mahonri Moriancomer could have used for lights in his boats (flashlight, candle, and lamp), but the highlight of the night was dessert.

Caramel popcorn is a favorite from Adam's childhood that we have recently started making a lot (probably more than necessary). The recipe comes from a ward cookbook from almost 25 years ago, which is kind of awesome. We especially like it because it's a recipe that the kids can be really involved in. Watching popcorn pop is always a hit, and when everything goes into the paper bag, they can help shake it. I thought I'd share in case anyone else wanted a fun, quick, yummy treat. We always burn our fingers and tongues trying to eat it right out of the bag instead of waiting for it to cool.

Microwave Caramel Corn
3 qt. popped corn (we have a stirring popper that we love - hardly any unpopped kernels!)
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. peanuts (optional)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt

Place popped corn and peanuts in a large brown paper bag. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a 2 quart glass bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir after each minute. Microwave 2 minutes more. Stir in baking soda. Pour syrup over popped corn and bag. Close bag and shake well. Microwave 1/2 minute more. Shake bag and pour popcorn into large roasting pan. Cool and stir to separate caramel corn kernels. Makes 3 quarts.

And, because I've had a lot of pictureless posts recently, and that's terrible, here are some shots from back in November.

Friday, February 21, 2014


This morning (or a few days ago, depending on when I decide to post this), I got to spend a blessed hour watching the couple-months-old daughter of a good friend.

I held her swaddled body close while swaying back and forth. It all came back. Those motions and the soft murmurings (not really saying anything at all, just letting that beautiful baby know you're there) that happened so naturally when my two were new came back in a rush while cradling this perfect little girl. She fussed a bit and I rolled her over so she was facing the floor as I patted her back. She sucked her pacifier for all it was worth until her whole body relaxed into sleep. Turning her just slightly so I could see her delicate (tiny!) features I was so grateful for the opportunity to hold her for those precious moments. It felt so familiar and yet so distant. Distant from my life of independent, active, wiggly, outspoken toddlers. 

And then I felt a little robbed.

Because I should be able to have as many of those perfect babies as I darn well wanted to.

Cancer is a jerk. The worst kind of jerk. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rafe at 2

The other day I ran across the word rapscallion in something I was reading and had to think twice about whether it had positive or negative connotations. After looking up the exact definition, I said to myself, "That is my little boy." The kid has taken mischief to a new level. And it's not just him exploring by getting into things and destroying things, it's him pushing peoples' buttons because he thinks it's absolutely hilarious.

When I take off his diaper to change him, he squirms away, delighting in streaking through the house in the buff. Adam has learned not to try and put shoes on in front of him, since it always results in Rafe stealing one and running away with it. His hands-down-favorite activity is getting his sister riled by picking up one of her toys and saying "Mine toy." The list could go one with descriptions of the things he has poured on the flour, a count of how many books he has torn up, and the number of times I have had to run to turn off the microwave when he turned it on by himself (after filling it with spoons).
(Warning: bad phone pictures coming up)

Fortunately, not all his time is spent destroying our lives. He loves snacks, and food in general. Cars, toy animals, and various building sets can keep him occupied for hours. His counting is adorable, and singing songs makes him so, so happy. One of his favorite pastimes is a game with Adam called "Ride Dad," which is self-explanatory, and usually leads to Rafe feeling the need to climb on people, jump off chairs, and wrestle with anyone who is willing to be engaged. In completely unrelated news, Adam's back has been really sore recently.

In addition to hitting the terrible two's early and exhausting everyone around him with his antics, Rafe is seriously the sweetest little guy. He loves to read. He'll climb up on the big lazyboy in his room with a pile of books and pat the back of the chair next to him to indicate where I should sit. "Wight 'ere." So I'll cuddle up next to his curl-covered head and read the mouse book, dino book, owl book, or whatever new one is top on his list. Putting him down for bed stretches on and on because when I say "Last book," he says " 'Nother book" in an absolutely irresistible way.

He's a real snuggler who loves to give hugs and kisses (especially when his sister has decided she doesn't want to be touched). He is also easily soothed by a little back rub and his favorite song (at the moment: Jingle Bells - we're keeping the Christmas spirit alive). The feeling of his little head resting on my shoulder melts my heart and I remember that I am the luckiest mama on earth.

And now he's two and less of a baby than ever. I love you big guy; I'm glad you're in our family.

P.S. Thanks to my father-in-law for the first photo!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Infusion Center

When I go in for treatments (once a week these days, soon to be once a month), I go to what is called "The Infusion Center." It's a big room with medical recliners around the perimeter, each with a small TV that probably doesn't work, an uncomfortable chair for your spouse or friend, an apparatus for hanging IVs, and 3 different trash cans. One corner of the room is well stocked with snacks, as well as a fridge, coffeemaker and blanket warmer. About 6 nurses are always hustling around helping people.

The nurses—along with the snacks—are the best part of the infusion center. They are just so nice! When you walk in, Wendy and Alice will wave or say "Hi." Dotty remembers who you are, what you're suffering from, what snacks you like, which side of the room you prefer, which side your port is on, and what kinds of medications you have had bad reactions to in the past. As Eliza sticks in your IV, she jokes around with you and asks about your family. When your husband shows up with his head shaved, Mike laughs about how he almost kicked out that shady character because nobody recognized him. Sharon runs for basins when you want/need them, apologizes when the proteins in your vital port make it so you're in that chair for 4 hours, and scrounges up a pillow when something she gave you makes you incredibly tired. They are all just great.

As I close in on my final chemo treatment, I've been wanting to bring something to these wonderful nurses, but I don't really know what. Baked goods? A plant? Any ideas? What says "Thanks for taking care of me when I was at my lowest"?

Monday, February 17, 2014

You have got to be kidding me

So here's the deal. I'm on week 11 of 12 chemo treatments - so close to being done I can taste it (no really, I can taste the chemo treatments). Unlike *ahem* previous chemo regimens, things have been pretty easy. I thought I was going to make it home free without A) being bald again and B) any unfortunate trips to cozy up to the toilet.


Today I got to spend some quality time with the porcelain throne.

And when run my fingers through my hair (it may not be long, but it's there), inch-long strands come away on my palms.

And I think "Why'd you have to get my hopes up?"

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Tale of Lady Thi Kinh

This is complete overkill, but I'm running with it. In addition to posting this on facebook and sending out an email to everyone that I'm related to, I thought I'd let my loyal blog followers know that Adam is performing in a World Premiere tonight. The opera is entitled "The Tale of Lady Thi Kinh" and is a brand new opera written by a professor at IU named P. Q. Phan. It's based on a Vietnamese folktale, but is mostly in English. I've heard very good things about it, including that the music is beautiful and the costumes are spectacular. Adam plays the part of a Buddhist monk, the head of the temple (and yes, they did shave his head for this role). He is on stage some in the first act, but the bulk of his singing comes in the second half. Overall, the opera's probably not more than 2 and a half hours.

You can watch it online through the IU Jacobs School of Music site here:
It will start at 8pm EST.

*Image from IU Opera and Ballet School's facebook page. Pictured singers are not from Adam's cast, so will not be performing tonight.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The little things

Recently, I have been trying to notice the little joys in life, like

  • The way Lydia calls our town (or any place, really) "our village." "The church in our village is a loooonnng way away."
  • Hanging up Adam's button-up shirts and then hanging up miniature Rafe-sized versions of those shirts alongside of them
  • Watching my children play with the people who love them, like their Dad or a couple of my siblings who have come to assist in the last couple of weeks
  • Having good conversations with friends or family
  • My sister calling nearly everyday just to chat
  • The feeling of going to bed with a clean (semi-clean) house
  • My nightly ice-cream (I have a problem)
  • Books! Reading to my kids is so much more rewarding than I would have expected. And we just got a huge box of new/old books from my Grandma Bonnie
  • Listening to Lydia's vocabulary "I'm having struggs getting my pants on"
  • Dressing up to go on a "Treasure Hunt" with both children
  • The moment of silence at dinner just after the prayer when everyone digs into their food and I can finally breathe
  • Laughing with Adam
  • The satisfied smile on Rafe's face when he has successfully explained to you what he wants
  • How beautiful my children are when they are asleep. The peaceful look of their quiet faces, the innocence in their chubby cheeks, the way they hold onto their comfort "stuffies (as Lydia calls them)" even deep in slumber, and the shape of that teeny body under a cozy blanket. 
Anyone have any little joyful moments to share?